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Is powder coating toxic?

As a finishing process, powder coating has certain safety advantages for its handling, use and disposal.

Compared to traditional, solvent-based liquid paint, powder coating does not generate harmful solvents and produces much less harmful waste products.

However, when applying powder coatings, you should take steps to ensure you are using it as safely as possible.

Why Use Safer Coatings?

The powders used in powder coating processes are non-toxic and are not volatile, making them safe to spray or store.

They contain no solvents, and therefore their amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is negligible.

VOCs are a group of chemicals that are carbon-based. They can easily evaporate at room temperature. Common Volatile organic compounds include benzene, acetone, xylene and methylene chloride.

You find them in a great many everyday products, including solvents, adhesives, cleaning chemicals, and, of course, paints.

Their fumes can be especially harmful to anyone with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

Short-term exposure may lead to eye, nose and throat irritation, or cause headaches or nausea.

High level, chronic exposure can cause serious health risks, including liver and kidney damage, cancer and damage to the central nervous system.

Using powder coating means reducing any risks associated with paint application significantly.

It has no known long or short-term health hazards.

Environmentally Friendly

Because powder coatings do not contain solvents, they are safer to dispose of, without posing a risk to the environment.

Powder coatings have a very low impact on the atmosphere, because they will not harm the ozone layer by releasing VOCs.

They do not contribute to air pollution.

Liquid paint can produce hazardous waste through retouching and disposal.

Where there have been coating defects, reapplying liquid paint will then create more hazardous, solvent-based waste.

And when it comes to disposing of liquid paint, it requires following time-consuming, sometimes costly regulatory practices.

Neither of these issues apply to powder coatings:

  • Powder coating finishes tend to be much more even, and, if applied professionally and carefully, should not normally require subsequent fixes
  • Because they are inert, or chemically inactive, powder coatings do not require special handling or disposal.

If there are faults on a powder coating layer, remedying them is much simpler than with liquid paint.

You can wipe the powder clean, or used compressed air to remove it, then simply reapply it before the curing stage.

Waste powder is easy to sweep up, without the need for any specialist safety equipment.

Compliance and Recycling

Powder coating is non-toxic and inert, which means it meets many environmental protection standards.

This makes it more straightforward to dispose of, and it is not classified as a spill hazard, therefore not requiring special storage facilities.

As a substance, powder coating is easy to recycle and reuse.

If, during the coating process, you overspray powder coating, you can simply collect, or reclaim it from surfaces or filters within a spray booth.

This makes powder coating more economical to use too, since you can cut down on wasted material dramatically.

Best Practices for Safe Powder Application

Although powder coating is non-toxic, it is still important to apply it safely and carefully, following best practices.

This includes managing health and safety risks. These mainly arise from the possibility of a dust explosion, fire or electric shock during powder coating processes.

Therefore it is important to guard against the following:

  • Electrical hazards – grounding systems should be in safe working order when it comes to operating powder spraying equipment, and no electrical equipment should overheat, with the risk of electrical shock of fire.
  • Dust explosion – it is important to monitor the concentration of dust in the air, so that it is at a safe limit, and to check for sources of ignition, such as hot surfaces or electrostatic charges.

Powder coatings can only be hazardous within a certain range of concentrations with surrounding air. Also, ignition temperatures for powder-air concentrations are extremely high, at around 500°C.

A Safe Alternative to Liquid Paint

Powder coatings are non-toxic to people and the environment, and they provide rapid, cost-effective and durable coating solutions for a range of metal surfaces.

To find out more about the benefits of powder coatings, please contact us.


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Is powder coating toxic?

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